Lionel Messi will be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks after his injury against Real Betis last Sunday. While this is terrible news for the player and Barcelona, Messi’s injury might actually be beneficial to his national team, Argentina.
Messi’s injury rules him out for Argentina’s next two friendlies against Ecuador and Bosnia, and it is unlikely to see him playing for Barcelona before 2014. However, even without Messi, Barcelona should be able to keep their first place in La Liga until Christmas Break; their next four games are against Granada, Bilbao, Villareal and Getafe. This injury also means that Messi is very likely to lose his Ballon d’Or after winning it four times in a row from 2009-12.
Messi’s absence will allow Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella to try new tactical options. Sabella’s team has some of the finest players in the world, but is still very dependent on Messi’s talent, and the next two games will gives us an idea of what Argentina can do without him. With his best player’s absence, Sabella has a unique chance to try new tactics, new players, and learn to play without Messi.
More importantly, Sabella will be lucky to have Messi arrive at the World Cup in Brazil next summer, having played less games than the seasons before. Players of major European clubs often arrive at major international tournaments having played more than 50 games in the season, and it sometimes affects their performances. Messi’s numerous injuries in 2013 means that he will not be burned out next summer in Brazil.
For Barcelona and Messi, the quadruple Ballon D’or’s injury is a huge blow, but it may help him perform better in Brazil. To win the World Cup, Argentina will need Messi to be at the peak of his physical form, and it is very likely that we will see just that next summer. The World Cup is the only major trophy missing in Messi’s career, and his repeated injuries in 2014 may have put him in better condition to fulfill his childhood dream.